One woman does not make a team. Even if that young woman is Sanja Mandic.
Serbia's brilliant young guard sparkled in her team's Group D opener at the U16 European Championships for Women on Thursday, piling in a game-high 31 points in an inspiring individual showing.
It was, ultimately, in vain however as the Netherlands used their strength in unison to carve out a 68-61 victory which was created by their energy at both ends of the floor.
Mandic had 15 of the Serbs first 24 points and although she tried to haul her side forward, there was too little support. The Dutch came in waves, using an early 8-0 run to build a cushion and never allowing their opponents to get closer than 5 as they seized a 41-29 half-time advantage.
Serbia did not give up but they could not find an effective second weapon. The Netherlands had plenty of options and used them to the max. Merlin Hammerink and Emese Hof, their twin centres, each had double-doubles in points and rebounds
And although the Serbs delivered a thrilling finish when they cut the deficit to 63-61 in the last minute, Lisanne de Jonge landed the fatal blow by casually draining a late three-pointer, adding two more from the foul line at the finish which took her team-best tally to 17,and secured the perfect start for the Dutch.